Spray-painting for Ukraine: Street artists show support

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Street artist Todd Goodman, known as 1GoodHombre, stands in front of his stencil of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holding submachine guns, painted without a permit on a building's wall in Santa Monica, Calif., on Monday, March 21, 2022. Goodman came out of anonymity as a street artist, risking arrest and fines for his unlicensed work to solicit funds for Ukrainian war refugees. (AP Photo/Eugene Garcia)

LOS ANGELES – One month into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, street artists in Southern California are taking up their brushes and spray paint to oppose the war.

Los Angeles artist Corie Mattie was motivated when bombs started dropping in Ukraine. She collaborated with tattoo artist Juliano Trindade to depict the head of Russian President Vladimir Putin being carried away by doves.

“It’s kind of like a resistance,” Mattie said this week. “But you’re using art to potentially change people’s perspectives.”

In nearby Santa Monica, the street artist known as 1GoodHombre decided to shed years of anonymity in solidarity with Ukraine war refugees. Todd Goodman said he knew the risks of arrest or fines for his sometimes-illegal street stencils. But those consequences were outweighed by the help he hoped to offer.

“I’ve decided to step out in support of the Ukrainian people,” said Goodman, whose wall stencils depict Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holding submachine guns.

Goodman was motivated in part by his Jewish ancestors, who emigrated to the United States in the 1800s from the Ukrainian region.

“My message is generally one of positive love and peace,” said Goodman. “Although this piece might appear to be quite violent, it is one that is speaking to the gut feelings of many people today.”

Both artists are using social media to solicit donations, with proceeds going toward Ukrainian war relief efforts, they said.

“I always say good art makes you think, but great art makes you do,” said Mattie. “So if my art or someone else’s art can make you stop and have a conversation about something or even stop and hit the QR code to donate, then we’re making an impact for the better.”